IGEM:Peking/2007/Experience-colletcion

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(Answers From Mingzhi Qu)
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Sure, there will be a next time, but in different ways. There will be another Peking Team next year, although most of the members will be new. We'll conclude our experience and lessons this year and make every efforts to pass it to the next team, ensure that they don't make the same mistakes as we do. I hope that they will behave as a more mature team then we do, work more effeciently and smoothly. But we'll also try to not to interfere with them too much, that'll kill all the fun. I'm a senior and will graduate from the University, so I can't be in the new team. But I'll help the new members to set up their own team until June, and try my best to make it to the jamboree next November.
Sure, there will be a next time, but in different ways. There will be another Peking Team next year, although most of the members will be new. We'll conclude our experience and lessons this year and make every efforts to pass it to the next team, ensure that they don't make the same mistakes as we do. I hope that they will behave as a more mature team then we do, work more effeciently and smoothly. But we'll also try to not to interfere with them too much, that'll kill all the fun. I'm a senior and will graduate from the University, so I can't be in the new team. But I'll help the new members to set up their own team until June, and try my best to make it to the jamboree next November.
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==Answers From [[User:Tao Yu|Tao Yu]]==
+
==Answers From [http://openwetware.org/wiki/IGEM:Peking/2007/Tao_Yu Tao Yu]==
 +
===My motivation===
 +
I first knew the iGEM competition on our group meeting in my lab. My mentor Qi Ouyang and Professor Chao Tang from UCSF told us the funny stories of iGEM 2006 (Professor Tang is the advisor of the UCSF team in iGEM 2006). Its concept is completely new for me and it offers a great opportunity to challenge myself as well as to communicate and have fun with my peers from all over the world. Therefore I am inspired to participate in the first few group meetings, and then became one member of the team.
 +
 
 +
===Brainstorming===
 +
As mentioned by Yifan, we spent quite a lot of time on brainstorming. One of the reason is that all of us were involved in the heavy courses during weekdays, thus we just have time to discuss together about our ideas on weekends (2 to 3 hours per week normally). Besides, at the beginning we needed to get familiar with iGEM, including its concepts, theme and previous projects, which took us a months or more.
 +
 
 +
As everybody on the team has talked about his/her ideas for weeks (you can find the original record of the primitive ideas from our early wiki), we finally voted for the ideas to determine which one to be carried out.
 +
 
 +
===My teammates===
 +
One of the most cherish point in my experience of iGEM is to make friends and cooperate with many new people of various backgrounds. I am a biology student but as mentioned by Yifan, members on our team came from different majors including physics, chemistry and biology etc.
 +
 
 +
Most of us will apply for the graduate programs in the US and we are all ambitious. I am now interested in the interface of micro-/nano- technology and biology/medicine, and my dream is to be an engineer who can develop new devices and methods for the further development of biology/medicine. Therefore, I am going to apply for the Biomedical Engineering and Bioengineering programs in the US.
 +
 
 +
===Communication===
 +
I never felt intimidating but very interesting to try to come up with new ideas, because I enjoyed the process where I can obtain much more new knowledge from literature reading and discussions. It is surely exciting for me to discover some new points and figure out some new ideas, and sometimes asking a new question is also stimulating.
 +
 
 +
Most people on our team own more or less some knowledge in biology, thus our communication (intellectually) were usually smooth. However, as we all from backgrounds of science but not engineering, most of us do not have much experience in running an engineering project, hence there were some times when we argued on the issues about how to run the project and organization,, and also about the progress of the experiments. But I think the debates are valuable for the growth of our team.
 +
 
 +
===The most interesting thing===
 +
For me, I think the funniest part in the progress is I learned how a team and a project are organized, what are necessary factors in the organization. Also, our team project itself is interesting, too. The feeling of exploration in our process is very wonderful.
 +
 
 +
===Experience===
 +
I will help to set up the new Peking iGEM team and participate in their brainstorming, but because I will graduate next July and have some other projects to handle, I think I can’t participate in the experiment part of the next project.
 +
 
 +
Even though, I still have a lot of experience I want to share with the new iGEMers, both in experiments and team organization. What is more, as the team financial secretary of the team, I have to teach the new members how to manage the budget of the team, too.
 +
 
==Answers From [http://www.openwetware.org/wiki/Peking_Mingzhi_Qu Mingzhi Qu]==
==Answers From [http://www.openwetware.org/wiki/Peking_Mingzhi_Qu Mingzhi Qu]==

Revision as of 22:18, 21 November 2007

Contents

Questions From Catherine Goodman

  • noticed that this was your first year in the competition. What inspired you to join in, and what was it like getting involved in the program from a logistical standpoint?
  • I read on your website that you all spent several months brainstorming ideas. How did you decide on the final projects?
  • What are the various backgrounds of the students on the team? How many were planning to become scientists/engineers before the competition, and has that changed since?
  • Did you find it intimidating or exciting (or both) to try to come up with ideas for scientific projects and make them work? Did you find any problems in communicating (intellectually) between people from different scientific backgrounds?
  • What was the most interesting aspect of the whole process?
  • Will you participate again next year, and if so, what have you learned from your experience this year that will help you next year?

Answers From Qinsi Zheng

Project Decision

  • At the begining, we have about 10 ideas presented by various team members, including in-vivo evolution of drugs and storing and searching information in E. coli. After about two months' discussion, we decide to do two projects, which is Switch and Count. I think the most interesting thing is at first we just do these projects seperately, but later we found that they have things in common, and describe them as bacterial assembling line to present our two projects in a single frame work.

Background of Team member

  • Most of our team members are biology students, but there is two students studying chemistry, and one studying physics.My name is Qinsi Zheng, and I am an undergraduate student in chemistry department. Before the competition I am not a biologist at all, I just thought Synthetic Biology is cool, so I joined it. I need to learn a lot, but I think it is not so difficult. Here I encourage non-biological stidents to join iGEM. It is fun, cool, promising and not too difficult, but of course you should love it and work hard on it. Before the competition, I was thinking about becoming a scientist, but not so sure then. During the competition, I think I feel good while doing research and cooperating with others. Now I am quite sure that I will become a scientist or an engineer.

About Next Year

  • I will. I think our project next year should be about a more practical problem, for example, health and enviorment. The iGEM is an engineering competition, and I think a good engineer should identify the market need and then provide a product. I like the Slovenia's project this year, which is about curing HIV. It quite matches the market need

Reply to Catherine by Yifan Yang

The starting of the team

My first personal experience with iGEM is in Fall, 2005 when Drew Endy, the organizer of the competition, came to Beijing and introduce iGEM in a seminar about computational and systems biology. I'm always been interested in systems biology and think this engineering approach really cool. But I have not thought about starting a team seriously.

At the end of 2006, when the iGEM ambassadors came to Peking University to evoke a team, I realized that it is a chance for me to participate. So I stand out volunteerly to organize a team. After contacting and obtaining support from Prof. Wang and the Center for Theoretical Biology, everything started. I think the main reason for me to do this, is the academic interest in systems & synthetic biology, and the desire to join this wonderful community.

I'm not sure what you mean by "From a logistical standpoint". There are no official requirement for joining the team. Actually it is more like a community instead of a team, one can join the team as long as he/she is interested and would like to contribute time, work, ideas, anything.

Project decision

In fact, maybe we spent too much time on brain-storming actually. We encouraged every member to bring up a project, and have enough meetings to discuss every of them. In May, we realized that we have to settle on one or two of them and start working. So we make a poll within the team to decide which project are most interesting and appropriate to do considering the limitted time and efforts. We could have more time on experiments if we settle this down earlier.

However, maybe that's one of the reason we're having so much excitement, we are doing projects which we all have thoroughly discussed. Actually, the hop count sub-project is formallized and improved through out the discussion and criticism and finally arrived in a state that most members agreeed with.

Another interesting fact is that the two sub-projects are brought out and implemented as two independent projects. In october when the jamboree is coming, we decided that we should present them in a single framework, and this job was put on me. Trying to figure out a way to do this cost me a lot of mediation: it is really hard find a natural way to unite two intellectually independent projects. Luckily for me, I'm quite interested in non-linear physics and familiar with the concept of "Spontaneous Symmetry Breaking" and find the common interest of the two project there. This framework is rather sucessful and the two sub-projects is well intergrated in the meantime reflect the original reasons that we thought them cool.

Team members and their future

About half of the team members are undergraduates from the College of Life Sciences. There are three undergraduate students including myself are from the interddisciplinary undergraduate program: "Yuanpei College" of our University. There are 2 undergraduates from the chemistry department and 1 from the physics department. The graduates students of the team, totally 4, are all from the Center for Theoretical Biology.

I do not know the future plans of all the team members, but I can tell some. The general trend for the undergraduate is to apply for graduate studies, but the fields is diverse. The main area of interest for our bio team members range from biochemistry, biophysics, microbiology to neuroscience. There are also members who will carry research in nanotechnology and microfluids. There are even one of us who decided to pursue a career in operational research.

For myself, I'm interested in systems biology and some evolutionary questions related to our iGEM projects. After doing iGEM, I have assured that I'm prepared to do research in that area and have enough creativity and team spirit to become a scientist. I have also realized although I'm always care about the real-world applications, I'm more suited for fundamental scientific research.

Interdiscinplinary Research and Communication

To me, it is only intimidating when I realize there is too much and not enough time sometimes. As to excitement, it's exciting when I come up with realistic ideas and when I realize it is totally possible to make it real. Before that, there is not much excitement.

Many of us, including myself and all the graduate students, are doing research at the Center for Theoretical Biology. So more or less, we are exposed to this kind of interdiscinplinary research and all the diverse academic background. There are of course confict between experimentalists and theoreticalists, and sometimes very intense. Fortunately, we find a way to work together and it is through the conflicts that we know each other well and better cooperate with each other after the the conflicts.

The most interesting aspect

The science is interesting of course. But the part that I want to mention most is the cooperation. Our team is really diversed, not only on academic backgrounds, but more importantly on expertise, motivation and personality as well. Through working together, I get to know my teammates very quickly and in a way that talking will never do. I started to appreciate their advantages and complement their weaknesses, and they started to do the same for me. It really felt great to behave like a whole, as a team. This is really the case when we are preparing for the jamboree and while we are there, and it's the most wonderful experience of team working for me.

Next year

Sure, there will be a next time, but in different ways. There will be another Peking Team next year, although most of the members will be new. We'll conclude our experience and lessons this year and make every efforts to pass it to the next team, ensure that they don't make the same mistakes as we do. I hope that they will behave as a more mature team then we do, work more effeciently and smoothly. But we'll also try to not to interfere with them too much, that'll kill all the fun. I'm a senior and will graduate from the University, so I can't be in the new team. But I'll help the new members to set up their own team until June, and try my best to make it to the jamboree next November.

Answers From Tao Yu

My motivation

I first knew the iGEM competition on our group meeting in my lab. My mentor Qi Ouyang and Professor Chao Tang from UCSF told us the funny stories of iGEM 2006 (Professor Tang is the advisor of the UCSF team in iGEM 2006). Its concept is completely new for me and it offers a great opportunity to challenge myself as well as to communicate and have fun with my peers from all over the world. Therefore I am inspired to participate in the first few group meetings, and then became one member of the team.

Brainstorming

As mentioned by Yifan, we spent quite a lot of time on brainstorming. One of the reason is that all of us were involved in the heavy courses during weekdays, thus we just have time to discuss together about our ideas on weekends (2 to 3 hours per week normally). Besides, at the beginning we needed to get familiar with iGEM, including its concepts, theme and previous projects, which took us a months or more.

As everybody on the team has talked about his/her ideas for weeks (you can find the original record of the primitive ideas from our early wiki), we finally voted for the ideas to determine which one to be carried out.

My teammates

One of the most cherish point in my experience of iGEM is to make friends and cooperate with many new people of various backgrounds. I am a biology student but as mentioned by Yifan, members on our team came from different majors including physics, chemistry and biology etc.

Most of us will apply for the graduate programs in the US and we are all ambitious. I am now interested in the interface of micro-/nano- technology and biology/medicine, and my dream is to be an engineer who can develop new devices and methods for the further development of biology/medicine. Therefore, I am going to apply for the Biomedical Engineering and Bioengineering programs in the US.

Communication

I never felt intimidating but very interesting to try to come up with new ideas, because I enjoyed the process where I can obtain much more new knowledge from literature reading and discussions. It is surely exciting for me to discover some new points and figure out some new ideas, and sometimes asking a new question is also stimulating.

Most people on our team own more or less some knowledge in biology, thus our communication (intellectually) were usually smooth. However, as we all from backgrounds of science but not engineering, most of us do not have much experience in running an engineering project, hence there were some times when we argued on the issues about how to run the project and organization,, and also about the progress of the experiments. But I think the debates are valuable for the growth of our team.

The most interesting thing

For me, I think the funniest part in the progress is I learned how a team and a project are organized, what are necessary factors in the organization. Also, our team project itself is interesting, too. The feeling of exploration in our process is very wonderful.

Experience

I will help to set up the new Peking iGEM team and participate in their brainstorming, but because I will graduate next July and have some other projects to handle, I think I can’t participate in the experiment part of the next project.

Even though, I still have a lot of experience I want to share with the new iGEMers, both in experiments and team organization. What is more, as the team financial secretary of the team, I have to teach the new members how to manage the budget of the team, too.

Answers From Mingzhi Qu

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